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Show ALL Forums  > Single Parents  > Not a parent ... but welcome the advice      Home login  
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 lorelei540
Joined: 8/14/2008
Msg: 3
Not a parent ... but welcome the advicePage 1 of 2    (1, 2)
So my question is: what is my role? Should I sit quietly on the sidelines when they are around, nod and smile until they go home? Let it affect my relationship cuz I want him to stand up more and take control? Is any of this even my place? I would love a long-term with all of them, just not sure I know how to handle it all.

It's your "place" in the sense that it's affecting your experience with your boyfriend. If it were me, I would do two things (and if I were seeing someone who thought those things about my kids, I would hope he'd do the same):

1. respond to the kids directly when they're being disrespectful or whatever, when it affects you (I do this with my kids' friends and my friends' kids, as well as nieces, nephews, and kids in the neighborhood --- and I welcome it when other adults do it with my kids)
2. talk with your friend about your observations and concerns, not while it's happening, but when the kids aren't around (it's as important as any other aspect of your relationship, and can become the 800-pound gorilla if you don't address it)

Every parent is different, so nobody's answers here will necessarily match how your boyfriend sees things. I'm all about the village --- I think we all have a responsibility to the people we encounter in our lives, regardless of their ages. But some parents are fiercely protective of their role as their children's rulemaker. And other parents are afraid of their kids (sounds like maybe your boyfriend is one of these?).

Talk with your boyfriend, tell him what you observe, tell him how you'd like to respond, ask him about his preferences, etc. Understand that at best it will be an ongoing process, as clearly there are some discipline/respect issues that precede you so your involvement will complicate an already complicated family dynamic. If you realize that you and your boyfriend are not on the same page, you may find his kids to be a dealbreaker. It's not the kids though, really, it's the parenting.

Good luck.
 farscapeprincess
Joined: 4/28/2008
Msg: 4
Not a parent ... but welcome the advice
Posted: 7/5/2009 2:59:53 PM
^^^^And I'm just waiting for this thread to bring out the anti-dating single parent brigade. OP, I don't think there is much you can say to him about how he allows his children to behave. It is a reflection on him and ex who never set boundaries, how to respect themselves an others, as well as manners. To bad there is no Nanny 911 for situations like this because your SO is in dire need of some parenting advice on how to discipline his kids.
 packagedealx3
Joined: 2/4/2006
Msg: 8
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Not a parent ... but welcome the advice
Posted: 7/5/2009 4:38:30 PM
I agree with what Lorelei said and I have also been in your shoes, a bit easier because it was one child, there wasn't anyone to fight with, lol. With my stepson, my moving from the girlfriend to the step-parent sort of naturally evolved as we spent more time together and I spent more one-on-one time with him. You didn't say how long you have been dating this man, obviously long enough to spend some pretty good chunks of time with his kids so I think you should get involved in the ways that Lorelei mentioned.

When kids are at my house or with me, regardless of who popped them out, I don't treat them any differently than my own kids. I expect them to respect my property and that of others, I expect them to behave if we are in stores, hold doors for people, stay out of the way of adults, etc. I do this with my friend's kids as well as the nieces and nephews, etc. and I too expect people to step in when I'm not there if my kids are out of line. Maybe you could spend some time with each child individually so that you can get to know them better? This may also help in the role they see you playing in their lives.

One thing that struck me about your post and reposts is that he tries to parent them, is ineffective, frustrated and literally doesn't know what to do. Have you not discussed this, has he not said I am frustrated, yada, yada? If he has, this is a perfect opportunity for you to say, you know, they are great kids (yes lie) but every parent I know has problems and there is a lot of material out there, blah, blah. Start surfing these threads, numerous situations of positive disicipline, etc. Most parents either wind up with a problem behavior or have some other parenting issue that has them feeling at a total loss, this is normal and many people welcome any suggestions that someone on the outside looking in may have, this is another way to approach it. You seem frustrated when the kids fight, would it help to have some new eyes looking at the situation with you?

Rather than suggesting that he is a bad parent you can discuss your changing role as you stay together and how you can work together to find parenting methods that will be successful with these children because there is nothing that works with every child and as children grow and change, parental response, etc. also needs to change. This would be happening if the nuclear family was intact because you often don't know until later that you did or didn't do things several years ago that are coming to bite you on the butt. He also needs to understand that by allowing the kids to emotionally blackmail them and get their way they will be making it much tougher on the kids when they go out into the world.

I don't hold to the notion that girlfriend has no place in discipline, etc. with the kids because as another adult, they have the same type of role that I do with my friends' kids, that of another adult who should be shown respect. If the kids are acting obnoxious at your house, you do have the right to say something but also recognize that there are so many things you can do to help stop the shit from happening in the first place. Kids usually fight like this because they are bored.

If they are involved in directed activities, even if it is formally sitting down the four of you to watch a movie with popcorn, that is different from sitting there watching t.v. together. YOU start reading about children and handling them and you can create a better environment when the kids are around and also if you cannot have the let's figure this out together convo, you can sort of sneak parenting tips into things. If for example, he is amazed that a visit went off without the harangue, you can say, oh, I was reading blah, blah.
 farscapeprincess
Joined: 4/28/2008
Msg: 9
Not a parent ... but welcome the advice
Posted: 7/5/2009 4:46:18 PM
Yeah, kids are short-term, they eventually go off to college. I would hang in there, especially if you love the guy.

My best friend married a guy who had a son already. That kid wasn't rude or mean to his father or her, but he was very quiet and non-talkative when he visited. He was kind of moody later which comes with the teen years, I guess. She didn't like him particularly, either because he didn't really want to participate in what the family was doing when he was at their house. Plus she sensed a little jealousy on his part after his dad and her had their own son. The perceive jealousy had to do more with that they could give their son more than he had when he was that age. But now he's like 19 or 20 and off on his own somewhere. So hopefully your SO will do something to discipline his kids better after you talk to him gently about it.
 hungry_joe
Joined: 6/24/2006
Msg: 10
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Not a parent ... but welcome the advice
Posted: 7/5/2009 6:02:53 PM
The tactful way to approach dad about the displine problem is this way. Honey I notice when the boys are over to visit and I'm here they act out, do you think they could be jelious? I know, this is your guy's time together, you think they could be doing this to get more of your attention? What do you think it is? You know I don't want to come between you and the boys. This gives him time to think, and come up with a way to address everyones conerns. Or something along that variation. Good Luck.
 ~JustSimplyMe~
Joined: 8/18/2006
Msg: 12
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Not a parent ... but welcome the advice
Posted: 7/5/2009 7:01:50 PM

Comments?

How come you you say you are dating and in love with a man, yet are single looking for long term on a dating site?
 4UMaybe
Joined: 8/3/2007
Msg: 14
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Not a parent ... but welcome the advice
Posted: 7/6/2009 7:09:18 AM
Waiting for the kids to go off to college in 8-10 years is not my idea of short term. You have seen how he deals with HIS children. It is up to you to decide if you can live like that....Good luck
 heterotic
Joined: 6/3/2008
Msg: 15
Not a parent ... but welcome the advice
Posted: 7/6/2009 7:17:17 AM
If you're not willing to give constructive criticism of his parenting, then what kind of relationship do you have? If he doesn't agree with you, then is this really the person for you?

Differences in parenting styles is a big reason why some marriages fail, and why many blended families fall apart.

Do you want to have children with this man?
 hungry_joe
Joined: 6/24/2006
Msg: 19
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Not a parent ... but welcome the advice
Posted: 7/6/2009 2:06:58 PM
I wish to throw a suggestion out there, that it isn't dad not parenting. As Carrolann stated he gets them 4 times a month. So the brunt of the displine problems can be laid at mom's feet. I know when my parents have my son, they spoil him like grandparents should. :) Yet it takes me a week to get my son acting right after a long weekend trip. So, Dad might be trying but, establishing rules takes more than a weekend. Have you talked to your boyfriend about it? BTW Niagra Falls Canada is beautiful. I've always loved visiting that city if only Niagra NY could be the same. Sigh.
 wanderbaby
Joined: 9/4/2006
Msg: 21
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Not a parent ... but welcome the advice
Posted: 7/6/2009 3:22:16 PM
some members already gave you good input, my thoughts were similar as in:

he's not setting any rules, thus the kids are unruly, kids need rules to give them structure, by him looking at the time and hoping the time comes for them to be picked up speaks loud. Kids do adjust and they know which rules they are to follow in each house, problem is that since they arew with their dad, they feel they can get away with everything.

also along with what carolann has said, how much time is he having alone with the kids? how often are you there? How are they when you're not around, the unruly can also stem from seeking attention. does he call them midweek so he can get more interaction with them? if not,encourage him to do so to establish a better relationship with the kids.

Are you even clear of what his parenting skill beliefs are? and have you voiced what you like? such as how you would discipline a child if he/she doesn't follow the rules, and giving time out?

I think if not at his place, they should at least follow your rules at your home, afterall it's your house, and it's not right for them to disturb it. but make sure you go over with your bf on the rules. If he doesn't guide them in the rules and don't discipline them a few times, then you should say something to the kids. and if nothing is settled, then you should really rethink if he's someone you want to be with. Or see him when he doesn't have the kids.
 hungry_joe
Joined: 6/24/2006
Msg: 22
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Not a parent ... but welcome the advice
Posted: 7/6/2009 3:59:30 PM

Niagara Falls is beautiful ... but trust me, you only want to visit! But that's another thread

The Candians wouldn't have me or my ancestors. lol
Great Granddad, was from PEI.
 hungry_joe
Joined: 6/24/2006
Msg: 23
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Not a parent ... but welcome the advice
Posted: 7/7/2009 2:50:16 PM
^^^^I think that all depends on who you choose. If you get into a LTR with a parent then you're saying you want to be a full member of the household not an honorary one. As the father, if I think "stepmom" is being to harsh I will good and well tell her so. Heck, my mom did it to my dad when she thought he was out of line.
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